09 Mar Staying Afloat In A Sea Of Opportunity

You  know what it’s like when you read something and have the weird sensation that the author has just interviewed you! That’s what happened when I saw this article which has an interesting take on procrastination. We are all different of course but here’s what comes up for me, both from a personal experience and working with a number of great global leaders.

For some people, like me, the problem is not that there is too much to do – I actually thrive on the momentum of action – it’s more about noticing and getting excited about more opportunities than I can possibly handle at any one time. I feel like I am in the sea which represents unlimited prospects for growth but at the same time there seem to be just too many openings to process.

My favourite place to be is on a boat in control of the rudder and the sails where I can see across the horizon and can take the best course and work with the elements. However, when the weather is particularly stormy I am liable to capsize and all I can do, for a period of time anyway, is to cling on to the edge of the life raft and wait until the waves subside before getting back into the boat. I am literally incapacitated and this is frustrating as, even though like this my view is limited, I am still acutely aware that there is activity going on which does not include me and also that any rescue ships out there can’t see me and just sail on by.

Flotation tips

I know that my ADHD brain is partly responsible for this kind of maelstrom of activity, and I also know that many of you will be able to relate to it, even with so-called ‘normal’ wiring, so here are some of my insights to keep yourself afloat:lifejacket

Question Just knowing you are putting something off is a good start as awareness on its own can bring positive results. The internal feedback you are generating in itself may also trigger the motivation you need to find a solution.

Discern Get to the heart of the matter through reflection. What exactly does procrastination look like for you? Bring it to life so that you can examine your patterns, what’s worked for you and what has not, and what might work in the future.

Evaluate Consider whether what you are procrastinating about is really worth it. Are you even in the right ocean? Or as a client of mine recently visualised her situation, are you up against the right ladder? This was a major breakthrough for her as it prevented her from spending endless effort on trying to get up the wrong ladder and negotiating missing rungs. In this case the initial procrastination was a good thing.

Discover Find out when you are most likely to be ‘in the zone’ and therefore least likely to prevaricate. This is usually about understanding your unique brain wiring and which activities produce the least electrochemical resistance. There are many psychometric questionnaires which measure psychological preferences and the ones I use with my clients focus on ease and pragmatism.

Collaborate Get help. Sometimes that help might be as simple as having a friend or colleague just listen while you verbalise all you are seeing on the horizon. Processing out loud often brings clarity and the strength to get out of the water, on to the boat and to identify which shore I’m heading for. I know that when I explain to my coach any frustrations I have around which of the many opportunities to pursue,  the view is soon much clearer.

What is YOUR experience? What would YOU add to the list?

Click here for more information on the work Clare McNamara does with leaders and their teams. We’d love to hear from you.

© Move Ahead Global 2015

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